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Burundi -- Economy

Burundi is among Africa's poorest countries, and recent violence and mass displacements of people has devastated an already weak economy. It's people earn a very low yearly income and it is poorly developed.

Over 94% of Burundi's population lives in rural areas; the great majority of people are subsistence farmers. Coffee is the major export and foreign exchange earner accounting for over 80% of exports. Tea accounted for less than 10%.

The industrial and manufacturing sectors have been hard hit by political turmoil. Most manufacturing revolves around food production and processing and due to mass displacements of people and war there has been a radical drop in product output. Burundi does have important reserves of vanadium, uranium and nickel. But high transportation costs have limited the potential of these reserves. Burundi's brewery is the largest and most effective industry and it continues to produce and be profitable no matter the political and social turmoil.

Sanctions imposed on Burundi are also adding to its economic woes. Before the economy has a chance to recuperate, Burundi needs to have peace.

Economy overview

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country in an early stage of economic development. The economy is predominately agricultural with roughly 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture. Its economic health depends on the coffee crop, which accounts for 80% of foreign exchange earnings. The ability to pay for imports therefore rests largely on the vagaries of the climate and the international coffee market. As part of its economic reform agenda, launched in February 1991 with IMF and World Bank support, Burundi is trying to diversify its agricultural exports, attract foreign investment in industry, and modernize government budgetary practices. Since October 1993 the nation has suffered from massive ethnic-based violence which has resulted in the death of perhaps 100,000 persons and the displacement of a million others. Foods, medicines, and electricity remain in short supply. An impoverished and disorganized government can hardly implement the needed reform programs.

GDP: purchasing power parity$4 billion (1997 est.)
GDPreal growth rate: 4.4% (1997 est.)
GDPper capita: purchasing power parity$660 (1997 est.)
GDPcomposition by sector: agriculture: 56% industry: 18% services: 26% (1995 est.)
Inflation rateconsumer price index: 26% (1996 est.)
Labor force: total: 1.9 million by occupation: agriculture 93.0%, government 4.0%, industry and commerce 1.5%, services 1.5% (1983 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA
Budget: revenues: $222 million expenditures: $258 million, including capital expenditures of $92 million (1995 est.)
Industries: light consumer goods such as blankets, shoes, soap; assembly of imported components; public works construction; food processing
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Agricultureproducts: coffee, cotton, tea, corn, sorghum, sweet potatoes, bananas, manioc (tapioca); meat, milk, hides
Exports: total value: $40 million (f.o.b., 1996) commodities: coffee 81%, tea, cotton, hides partners: EU 60%, US 7%, Asia 1%
Imports: total value: $127 million (c.i.f., 1996) commodities: capital goods 26%, petroleum products, foodstuffs, consumer goods partners: EU 47%, Asia 25%, US 6%
Debtexternal: $1.1 billion (1995 est.)
Economic aid: recipient: ODA, $NA
Currency: 1 Burundi franc (FBu) = 100 centimes
Exchange rates: Burundi francs (FBu) per US$1412.59 (January 1998), 352.35 (1997), 302.75 (1996), 249.76 (1995), 252.66 (1994), 242.78 (1993)

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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